PHOTO GALLERY: Caister Lifeboat Fete

This year's Caister Lifeboat Fete was a touch above the previous years, with a helicopter and an impressive new life saving boat among the attractions.

The crew from the independent life boat service proudly showed off their top of the range new inshore vessel - yet to be named - which cost more than �40,000, while a Sea King search and rescue helicopter fly-past from RAF Wattisham provided excitement for young and old.

The fete - which takes place at Tan Lane at the bottom of Beach Road - is not only a big event in Norfolk's calendar, but a vital source of funds for the Caister Lifeboat team, who operate independent of national organisations. Last year it raised �10,000 and sees visitor numbers in the thousands.

Chairman of Caister Lifeboat Paul Garrod said: 'It went very well, extremely well in fact.

'There were lots of kids there, excited to see the new boat and the helicopter, which people were very impressed with. We will take any opportunity to show it off. It is very different, more powerful, more facilities and better life saving facilities.

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'All the lifeboat crew mucked in and enjoyed it too.'

The life boat crew were involved in the fun, and dragged members of the crowd onto the boats with them to be part of the demonstrations.

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The event was designed as a traditional village fete, but on a larger scale.

Sea rescue exercises and demonstrations went alongside stalls such as hoopla and tombola and live music, including a set from Hank Bemarvin and the first performance of a specially-written song, Caister Men Never Turn Back sung by the Prelude choir.

Traditional fried herring was served along with burgers, hotdogs and chips, and a licensed bar.

Mr Garrod thanked sponsors for donating prizes such as hotel breaks and holidays for the raffle.

But even more than the fun, games and prizes on offer, what draws the crowds is an appreciation of the fact that the life saving crew are all volunteers.

'It is testament to how people feel about us, the whole village looks forward to it each year,' said Mr Garrod.

'We are not part of a large organisation, we have a family background and go back generations. I think everybody, the sponsors, the people, the volunteers, we all muck in together because we know how important we all are to each other. It is not just us that are proud of what we have here. We are part of the community.'

The volunteer-led service relies on fundraising which must continue all year round, as it costs �150,000 a year to keep it going.

To donate to the lifeboat service, telephone 01493 722001 or email


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